Photo from: here
Without stopping our struts we’re able to sneak secret glances in your silvery buildings, glossy storefronts, or silent lakes. We stare superfast so strangers don’t think we’re mistaking the sidewalk for a runway. Of course, we manage to look long enough to see our shirts hanging just right and our hair having a good day.
Nobody needs to know our self-motivation secrets.
Photo from: here
My friends Mike and Jes had a baby so we jumped in a car and headed down the highway to visit the three-month old pile of diapers, flab, and giggly charm.
She was a stunner, too — cute and cuddly, silent and smiling, she was passed around like a hot potato for a few hours on Saturday afternoon. Now, I have no idea how to hold a baby so when someone passed me the potato I held her up by the armpits about two feet above my head. She gave me a patient smile and a weary sigh that seemed to say “Buddy, seriously?”
While I had her up there I couldn’t stop staring at her tiny feet. I mean, they were the size of hotel shampoo bottles and had ten wiggling toes searching for support way up in the living room stratosphere. All the toes were so small and had microscopic little toenails — even that tiny baby toenail, which as we all know never changes in size.
It’s fun picturing how much those tiny feet are going to do in the future. They’ll be walking this baby every single day, every step of the way. Wrapped in fresh runners on the first day of school, tied tightly in ballet slippers for the big recital, jammed into cleats for the weekend ball tournament, and wedged in hiking shoes for trips cross country. From trampolines to treadmills, from backyards to backpacking, and everything in between, these tiny feet will be clocking up and chalking up everywhere she’s going … and everywhere she’s been.
Photos from: Mike and Jes and here
Now, make no mistake here: breakfast has a lot going for it already. Yeah, we’re talking fresh brewed coffee, sizzling bacon, and hot, fluffy pancakes. Nothing wrong with waking up groggy and heating up the dirty frying pan, flipping down the toaster, or getting that coffee machine dripping. But there’s also something sinful about eating things that have no business being in your mouth before noon:
• Cake. What’s up, last night’s birthday? We were all stuffed when the flaming sugar slab got wheeled up so most people didn’t eat much. Thank goodness someone put it back in the fridge because now it’s time to kickstart the day with a couple icing flowers. Goes great with ice cream.
• Coke. It’s deliciously sinful pouring a tall glass of the brown fizzy at 8:00am. Don’t even try to justify it, either. We understand, friend. We’ve been there too.
• Mix and Match. This is where you stare into your fridge for five minutes and realize you don’t have any good breakfast stuff kicking around. Now it’s time to grab a couple pickles, spoonful of peanut butter, and some slices of bologna before putting the backpack on and running to the bus.
• Regular breakfast food with a key ingredient missing. When we were little my sister Nina got sick and couldn’t eat dairy for a while so she subbed apple juice on her Cheerios. Sure, maybe it’s disgusting, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. If you’ve ever smeared strawberry jam on your pancakes or eaten a plate of eggs with a handful of Ritz crackers, then you know what we’re talking about.
• Breakfast Barbecue. Flip on the gas and get grilling. You can try whipping up bacon or eggs out there if you want to keep the classics, but frankly, if you’re ever gonna do dogs and wieners, now’s the time. Great for camping or cottages.
• Leftover takeout. Open up your fridge and get ready for that surprise Styrofoam wake up call. Nothing like some snow peas and cross-cut carrots soaking in an ice-cold bath of soy sauce to get the day started with a salty jolt.
Now, morning is generally time for slow movements and soft tastes. Most of us baby our tongues with oatmeal muffins, scrambled eggs, or some butter on toast. But that’s why it’s fun eating ridiculous things for breakfast once in a while. You’re drawing outside the lines, ripping up the rules, and adding adventure to your morning.
Bring on the day.
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While flipping magazines at the dentist office or sitting casually at a restaurant table I’ll mindlessly start staring at the flower bouquet and start wondering if they’re real.
I always think they’re fake at first but then my eyebrows furrow and I stare in deeper looking for clues. What’s that, a torn leaf at the back? Wait a minute, is that dirt outside the vase? My eyes widen as I lean in to rub a leaf or two, touch a petal, or take a big sniff.
Sure, it’s risky going in for that inspection because if you find out it’s fake then you just got duped by a flower factory.
But that’s what makes it so sweet when Detective Petals comes up with a winner. Then you lean back satisfied and stare sweetly at the bouquet as suddenly everything’s coming up roses.
Photo from: here
Suddenly the shuffling crowds parts and you’re at the front of the line. Suddenly your boss quits and nobody else can do her job. Suddenly you’re on deck during a late inning tie game. Suddenly your sister’s finished opening her Christmas present.
Suddenly you’re next.
Photo from: here
The other day I was watching movies with my friend Shiv when our stomachs started rumbling and we decided to dial for dinner. I got up and grabbed a stack of crinkly takeout menus from the junk drawer and we flipped through all the fancy ones before settling on pizza.
Of course, before I picked up the phone we entered into one of those classic Pre-Order Topping Chats.
Most of us know from experience that those chats don’t always end well. Brother, it can get heated with the double cheese debates and stormy arguments over pineapple juice runoff. I’ve seen movie nights get divided and end with tears, broken hearts, and slamming bathroom doors. Shiv and I had both been hurt before so we entered into our chat slowly:
“So… uh, what do you like on your pizza?”
“Oh, you know, I’m pretty easy. Do you like … meat?”
“Yeah, of course. Pepperoni then? What about mushrooms?”
“I love mushrooms! Okay… pepperoni, mushrooms. Want to get one more? Um, how do you feel about pineapple?” (giant nervous smile with raised eyebrows)
“No way, you like pineapple? That’s my favorite! This is perfect, I always get pepperoni, mushrooms, and pineapple. And thin crust.”
“I love thin crust! We’re Pizza Soulmates!”
An hour later we were still wearing clown-faced grins when we popped open a steaming box of crispy-corner pepperoni, paper thin mushrooms, and juicy pineapple chunks staring back at us. We sat back and scarfed back a lot of hot slices of perfect pizza that night. And it was beautiful.
Life will twist and turn us in all directions, but let’s remember that we all deserve to be happy. Yeah, I say forget half-toppings, forget counting slices, and forget making sacrifices. If you like green olives, hot peppers, or spicy sausage, don’t leave it off.
Just keep looking for your Pizza Soulmate.
Maybe they’re out there right now looking for you.
Welcome to the crowded food court, workplace lunch room, or high school cafeteria. Thin napkins and ketchup smears cover tables as wailing babies and french fry fumes fill the air. It’s time for lunch so your stomach’s grumbling and all you can think about is how hungry you are.
That’s when it happens.
A smoking babe struts by and all you notice are her enchiladas. A hot guy cruises over and all you see is his taco salad. Just then someone runs over your foot with their wheelchair but you’re too hypnotized by their thai curry to feel any pain.
Eyes pop and drool drips as you stand spinning in a neon daze. This is modern day hunting and you’re tray gawking with the finest. You know you’re food ogling when one of these classic moments happens:
1. The Shoulder Tap. You’re dining out with friends and you spot a couple eating something good by the window. You stare down at your menu and discover that it’s … just text! No steaming stir frys or scrambled slams staring up at you. Now you eyeball their meals and casually stroll by on your way to the bathroom to see what’s cooking. If you’re like me, you try and fail to find their meal on the menu. “They’ve got something covered in cheese and tomato sauce over there… but there’s no chicken parmesan listed.” Now you give a guilty smile and shoulder tap the waiter for help. Or for extra rudeness points you can yell across the room to ask them. Maybe even clink a fork on your wine glass to get their attention.
2. The Bad Trade. After reuniting with your three geek pals at the plastic food court table under the fake umbrella you notice three of you got cold sandwiches while one person came back with a steaming plate of hot lasagna and fresh garlic bread. Staring at that delicious lasagna is too much so finally someone snaps and tries to make a bad trade. “How about six inches of my sub for a few bites?” It’s a pathetic offer but they had to try. What have you got to lose besides bland lettuce scraps and a green tomato slice?
3. The Lazy Man’s Regret. There’s always one guy willing to wait ten minutes at the made-to-order pasta station in the caf or the omelet station at the hotel buffet. Sure, you think he’s a fool at first, but after he sits down you can’t help stare deep into his dish and curse your impatient ways. “I too could have had egg-white omelet with cheese and mushrooms.” Tears spill as you think about the cardboard scrambled eggs and cold chewy pancakes you just ate.
4. The Unobtainable Leftovers. That stack of microwaves in the office cafeteria is a leftover fashion show. This is where I stuff my freezer-burned chili while drooling over the leftover fettuccine and homemade curries popping out of other machines. These meals aren’t accessible to me, no line I can wait in, no money I can pay. So I’m stuck staring like a food ogling fool.
When we’re hungry our stomachs rule and office meetings, bathrooms breaks, and text messages fade to the background. Now it’s time to food ogle and fill your stomach by spotting ice cream sources, sniffing steaming coffees, and tracking back those greasy snacks so you can fill your belly with a whole lotta
When you’re first in the car it’s time for some smoooooth sitting. Yes, you’ve got your pick of the seats before anyone else gets in there. Do you want the chipped orange plastic one in the corner with the Coke spilled on it or the stained yellow one in front smeared with smudgy newspapers?
Now, when the subway door stops in front of you it sort of feels like you own the train. After it screeches to a slow stop make sure you smile thinly, check your pocket watch, and tip your hat to the conductor before swishing your trenchcoat up into your private car.